The last time Adamson beat Ateneo was at the height of their strength, sporting ace caliber players at all positions down to the reserves and were extremely motivated by the idea of being the only team in the UAAP that year to be able to hold a candle to them. That time has passed and Adamson has none of those.
The Adamson squad that will be opening the season against a motivated Ateneo team is one that is untested and full of question marks. Whether or not Coach Duremndes can match the success of his playing career with the white board and marker is yet to be seen. As to what system he will have his boys run, he can only emphasize again and again that “teamwork” will get them through.
Do the Falcons stand a chance against the Eagles? Maybe. For all we know, the Falcons have something tucked into their sleeves with all the new acquisitions and the offseason silence. To just match the intensity of Ateneo would be one thing, to beat them would be a surprise of astronomical proportions.
Keys to the game
Coach Duremdes emphasiz0ds that teamwork will be the glue that holds down their system, ot exactly focusing on offense, defense or any specific kind of offensive flow. Expect the Falcons to pass a lot, or at the very least try to. With Ryan Monteclaro stepping up as the most senior among the players and Celladonio Trollano Jr., a willing passer, as their top scorer, it would be natural for them not to have any issues with players trying to go “superstar” on them.
If the Falcons can execute their sets and not turn the ball over feeding the Eagles transition offense, then they’ll be able to stand a chance.
Expect lots of missed shots from the Falcons. Without particularly tall players manning the post, the Falcons will rely heavily on mid and long range shots which bounce out long leading to potential fastbreak opportunities at the other end. The Falcons have to limit Ateneo’s running game and slow the game down in order to prevent the Eagles from running away with the game.
Someone has to step up among the Falcons to fill the void left by the Jericho Cruz and Ingrid Sewa. It could be from the veterans such as Monteclaro making plays for his teammates or Trollano going on a scoring tear, it has to come from someone. With Trollano the only player known to be capable of averaging 15 points a game, the Falcons will need to distribute the scoring evenly or find two others to carry the brunt of the load. They can defend all they want, but if they can’t get shots to go, it’s all for nothing.
It’s a tough battle for the Falcons. Ateneo is a team that has beaten them for decades and the Falcons have only beaten them when they went nova. It’s unlikely that they will get their first win this game, but doing so would be a big surprise, even to me.